KANSAS CITY, KAN. With more than a year to spare, the Kansas University Endowment Association has surpassed the $500 million goal for its "KU First: Invest in Excellence" campaign.
Now, Forrest Hoglund, campaign chairman, has his sights set on a new goal -- $600 million.
Hoglund said Thursday the campaign has been a success despite an economic slowdown after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, which occurred only four days after the official kickoff of KU First.
"We didn't have the drop-off we thought we'd have," he said. "We were able to go on."
Hoglund, a semi-retired energy executive from Dallas, announced that the campaign goal had been topped during an event to announce a $15 million gift from the Kansas Masonic Foundation to the Kansas Cancer Institute.
The gift ties with one from the Kansas Health Foundation for the second largest in Endowment Association history. The largest gift was $42 million from the Hall Family Foundation. The Hall gift was announced in June 2001 to benefit a long list of KU First projects benefiting the humanities, life sciences, the school of business and Edwards Campus.
Masonic Foundation gift
Money from the Masonic Foundation will help pay for additional personnel, equipment and remodeled facilities for KU's cancer research programs at the Medical Center and on the Lawrence campus, said Dr. William Jewell, the institute's director.
He said the money would help in the institute's quest to become one of about 55 affiliates of the National Cancer Institute. Such affiliation would help the institute land federal research grants.
"The Masons are committed to helping eliminate cancer as a threat to human health, and we are very fortunate that they have chosen to partner with KU to reach that goal," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said.
Jeff Sowder, president of the Masonic Foundation board of directors, said the group had confidence KU could be part of curing cancer.
"Even if we can be just a small part of the answer, or if we can help prevent cancer in any way, then our work is worthwhile," Sowder said.
More projects to fund
So far, the KU First campaign, the largest fund-raising effort in university history, has raised money for 15 construction projects on three KU campuses, including the Dole Institute of Politics and Eaton Hall engineering building in Lawrence and Regnier Hall at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park.
It also has created more than 230 new scholarship funds and 41 new professorship funds. Another 74 scholarships and 14 professorships have been pledged through estate gifts.
"It's a tremendous tribute to the hard work of literally thousands of people," Hemenway said. "It shows you what commitment there is to the University of Kansas."
Though the Masons' donation put KU First over $500 million, Hemenway and Hoglund said there were many goals left unmet. They hope to meet those goals -- which include funding more scholarships and professorships, additions for the Lied Center and Spencer Museum of Art and new buildings for undergraduate biological sciences and the Natural History Museum.
"The needs are definitely there," Hoglund said. "I think there's a lot of work to do. We're not going to slow down."
Hoglund said the KU First drive would continue until the end of 2004, the original completion date. He said he wouldn't be surprised to see the campaign's total ultimately reach $600 million.
The original goal of $500 million was nearly double the amount raised in the university's last drive, "Campaign Kansas," which ran from 1987 to 1992.